Thursday, March 31, 2016

New Mother's Day Giveaway!

Grand Prize Package
Who doesn't love a BOGO, right?

My new Mother's Day Giveaway is simple: Buy a Cookbook, get a free Baby Blessing!

If you purchase a copy of my award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook between April 1-30, just CONTACT ME and I'll put your name in the drawing for an awesome Grand Prize Package.

Plus, 5 additional winners will receive BOGO prizes you can share with the beloved ladies in your life on Mother's Day. And you get to choose which of my three newest Baby Blessings will be your prize!

The Grand Prize Package includes an adorable "Will Cook for Shoes" apron (sooo cute!), assorted cool kitchen doodads, a hefty stash of chocolate, and copies of my three newest Baby Blessings:

  • Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook
  • Too Blessed to be Stressed 3 Minute Devotions for Women
  • Too Blessed to be Stressed Coloring Book for Women (plus neon coloring pencils)

So there will be SIX winners in all!

Don't put off til tomorrow what you can win today! I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Oh ... there just might be a special surprise for one of you, my BBFFs (Blessed Blog Friends Forever)!

So be sure to hit the subscribe button (top right) - you never know, it might just be you!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Back to the Beginning

Remember the scene in everybody's favorite
movie, The Princess Bride, when the Brute Squad is emptying the Thieves Forest by order of Prince Humperdinck and a very stubborn, inebriated Spaniard refuses to leave?

Inigo Montoya (played by Mandy Patinkin) has lost his way. His one friend (Fezzik, played by Andre the Giant) has disappeared, and his quest to kidnap Princess Buttercup has fizzled.

Not knowing how to get back on track, he follows original instructions from his Sicilian boss, who, unbeknownst to Inigo, has already been bested by Sweet Wesley in a battle of wits: "Vizzini said if somezing goes wrong, go back to the beginning ... so here I am, back at the beginning!"

That scene flashed through my mind this morning as I was reading the biblical account of Jesus and His boys during the days after his crucifixion and resurrection.

The disciples had fled like field mice in a snake pit during Jesus' trial and crucifixion, but eventually regrouped in time to witness the appearance of their risen Lord in the upper room (John 20:26). After Jesus proved to the last of them (Thomas) that He was indeed the living, breathing Messiah, He vanished.

I imagine this left the disciples in an uber tizzy. "What do we do now?" they must have cried. "How do we find Him again?"

But the two Mary's and Salome, the faithful ladies who'd encountered first the empty tomb and then it's newly evacuated occupant, related Jesus' instructions from that glorious Easter morning. "Tell His disciples and Peter, 'He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He said to you'" (Mark 16: 7, NASB).

Notice: Jesus said He'd already told them. Hmm. I guess they forgot.

And being men, I suspect the disciples never would have asked for directions anyway so it's a decidedly good thing that Jesus opted to clue the women in.

(By the way, why do you suppose Jesus singled Peter out in that directive; he was one of the disciples too, right? "Tell His disciples and Peter ...")

So back to Galilee they went, back to their beginning ... to the very place Jesus had called them to himself three years earlier. The place they first met the One who changed everything. The place they began to know and love Jesus. The place where joy and excitement and wonder knocked their dusty sandals off.

Sure enough, Jesus met them there. Being in His presence fired them up enough to change their world.

The beginning's not only a good place to start, it's a GREAT place to return to when we've gotten lost and off-track. When our friends and goals have disappeared; when our vision for the future is gone.

If we return to the joy and excitement and wonder of the time and place Jesus first called us to Himself, His presence will surely fire us up enough to change our world too.

Happy Resurrection Day, my dear BBFFs!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Yup. I'm a piler, not a filer. 
Every woman has her own organizational style. That's not to say mine is better than yours, but hey. It is.

The scene to your left is what I see every day from my computer chair. It's my reference file as I slave away on my 365-day Too Blessed to be Stressed devo set to release in January, 2017.

This file (loosely termed, of course) contains 6 Bible translations, all the books in my "Take On Life" series, several devo compilations I've worked on, 2 topical scripture books, and 3 of my fave go-to references for the numerous names of God.

(I can't believe Papa God isn't one of them, but that's for another post.)

My pile - I mean file - is completely accessible and user-friendly. I can instantly spot what I need and it takes no time at all to refile material for future reference. A simple flick of the wrist will suffice.

Can you say as much about your organizational system, hmmm?

The only downside is that my office floor hasn't seen the underbelly of a vacuum in 6 months, but the roaches seem to be enjoying their soccer matches with the dust bunnies. As long as dog hair tumbleweeds don't roll past the hallway and venture into the kitchen, I'm good.

By the way, if you're a BBFF (Best Blog Friend Forever), you'll be happy to hear that after my pathetic lament about the ravages of Spontaneous Degeneration (scroll back two posts), I now have a sweet domestic savior who will begin excavating my living room in April. God bless her very soul.

So tell me honestly - how many of you neatniks out there felt your teeth go to edge when you first laid eyes on today's photo? Go ahead - lay it on me, baby. I can take it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Radical Grace

Good match.

Nice slice.

I hate your stinkin' guts.

Which of these would you not expect to hear while shaking hands across the tennis net at the end of a match?

Well, I've heard 'em all. Although the last was supposedly tongue-in-cheek, I suspect there was hidden truth there. (Actually I'm sure of it because it was me speaking.)

Just kidding.


Anyway, the point is - losing sometimes clogs our spirits with nasty. Whatever graciousness might usually reside there is thrown under the bus of frustration. We are ANGRY because we/our team/our kid didn't dominate. So anything goes. Let 'er rip. Diplomacy be hanged.

We tell ourselves that's just sports. Part of competition. So it's okay. But it's not.

So imagine my surprise when, at the end of a league match a few weeks ago (in league play, tension is high because the match counts either for your team or against with a championship at stake), my opponent (who lost) did something completely unexpected.

I still can hardly believe it. Are you ready?

She gave me her shoes. Her shoes. 

Yep. She shook my hand, asked my shoe size, then handed me the $80 Nike's she'd only worn once."Try them on," she said, mopping her sweaty brow. "They don't fit me right. If you like them, they're yours."

I back-pedaled big time, boy. She'd been a tough, grisly, no-nonsense competitor and I was all ready to dislike her. Then she sucked the wind right out of my sails.

She took me so by surprise I couldn't seem to put a cohesive sentence together. Sputtering nonsense, I plunked down, tried on the perfectly fitting shoes and watched her walk away barefoot with a "so that's that, then" smile and nod.

I was totally reeling the rest of the day. Why in the world would someone be that nice?

Radical grace knocked me upside the head. And made me think. Why is extending grace to someone you don't really know or even like so shocking? Especially for emulators of Jesus. He was the epitome of grace in forgiving his own executioners; aren't we supposed to be more like Him?

Or more precisely, aren't I supposed to be more like Him?

I love my new tennies. I think about that incredibly gracious gal every time I wear them. And they remind me to be radical.

Tell me, when have you last experienced radical grace?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Ravages of Spontaneous Degeneration

NOT my living room ... yet. But I'm gettin' there. 
I'm living a domestic nightmare.

Little piles of harmless clutter have gradually turned into lurching Stonehenge precipices that threaten to avalanche and bury my living room.

Friends write finger notes to me in the dust on my coffee table.

My kitchen sink is evolving back into the frightening pit it once was when excavating down through layers of left-behind refuse revealed how many potatoes I peeled for Easter dinner in 2006.

Shudder. I feel so .. so... helpless.

It all started the day after my friend Teresa, who has faithfully organized and cleaned my house once a month for the past five years, left me.

Sniff. Yes, she left me.

Somehow - what was she thinking? - Teresa decided that her hubs being promoted to a new job in another state was good enough reason to leave me to the ravages of Spontaneous Degeneration.

You remember Spontaneous Degeneration, right? The Coty Near-Fact of Science I shared in my book, Too Blessed to be Stressed?  Well, here then - let me remind you:

My theory of Spontaneous Degeneration declares that when left in an unnaturally clean state, matter will spontaneously atrophy into indiscriminate disarray.

Yup. You've seen it happen.

A hour after you triumphantly finish slaving over a clean house, mold begins sprouting on shiny faucets, green slime oozes from the vegetable crisper, tiny hairs creep up from the drain and embed themselves in the bathroom sink. Dust bunnies proliferate for a closet reunion.

Black dirt erupts like lava from the carpet nap, clothing magically appears on every piece of sit-able furniture, dirty panties peek from behind hampers just in time for the dog to proudly present them to dinner guests.

You know it's true. And sadly, I am completely defenseless against Spontaneous Degeneration. I have not been blessed with cleaning skills. None.

I am NOT Martha Stewart. Or even the biblical Martha who zipped around cleaning, cooking, and organizing when the Son of God came to visit (Luke 10: 38-42).

On the best of days, I'm neat, but not immaculate. Orderly, but not obsessed. Clean enough for health, dirty enough for happiness.

But I'm in the middle of writing a book (the Too Blessed to be Stressed Daily Devotional, scheduled to release in 2017) that requires my undivided attention if I'm to make my publisher's deadline. So on the clean house continuum, these are not my best of days.

So I've come up with a plan. I shall wear really, really dark sunglasses and leave the lights off. Spouse and I will don shin guards and helmets to avoid injury from the refuse piles and we'll dine out every night at the homes of friends and relatives until they never want to see us again.

So don't expect to be invited to my house anytime soon. But I'll be calling you!